Tiny House Tools: New vs. Used

When it comes to tiny house building, the tools of the trade are well, literally tools. For the average person who comes at this undertaking from a more novice point of view, you may not have everything that you need to get you through the project. To be fair, you are trying to pare down your “stuff” and simplify your life. Buying a whole load of tools definitely does not follow in this school of thought but the fact remains that you are going to need tiny house tools. This raises the questions, “Should I buy new or used tools and what should I do with them afterwards?”

New Tiny House Tools

New Tools Tape MeasurerEveryone likes to go out and get something brand new. It is fun and exciting to open the box and take something out of the packaging. There are other added benefits that come with buying your tiny house tools new as well. First of all you know exactly what you are getting when you make that purchase. You also know that you are getting a full warranty. Don’t forget, the world is your oyster. You can buy any tool from any store, and if you decide that you are going to resell the tools after you are done, you are going to get a good resale value out of tools that you have only used for one project. The only detractor from this happiness is that you have a higher out of pocket expense up front. Remember though, you will be able to get a pretty good resale value.

Used Tiny House Tools

Used Tools Circular SawSo you need to save every penny you have? Well, used tools are where it is at for you. Obviously cost savings is the primary advantage here with the other being the resale value. You certainly won’t get as much as you would have from one time used tools, but you aren’t going to put much wear and tear on them in the year or less that you use them, so you can probably sell them for almost what you paid for them. The negatives here are that your selection is entirely based upon what you can find, there is probably no warranty included and you could be lied to by the seller and your tool might not work to its best ability. If you are looking at hand tools, some of the brands like Craftsman have a lifetime warranty so there is little worry about something breaking.

Tool Quality

Speaking of tools breaking, let’s take a moment here and talk about tool quality because all tools are not created equal.


DeWalt ToolsProfessional grade tools are typically made from higher quality materials and made to take more of a beating, be used more often and last much longer. They normally have a better power cord and if they are cordless their batteries last longer. Brands to look for in this group are Dewalt, Ridgid, and Milwaukee.


Ryobi ToolsConsumer grade tools are normally a lot less expensive but at the same time are made with a lesser quality of parts. They are not expected to be used on a daily basis. Now, don’t get scared off here, as most of the tools in this group will be fine for the duration of your tiny house project. Some of the brands in this group are Black and Decker and Ryobi.

Budget (Junk)

Harbor Freight ToolsThese are tools that are not recommended for your tiny house project. They are made of inferior materials, do not last long and normally come with little or no warranty. Brands to be on the lookout for here are Harbor Freight and HDX.

A quick thought on tool sales. If you think it is too good to be true it probably is. Be very careful around Father’s Day and Christmas because many of the higher grades of manufacturers will dip down into the lower qualities of tools, providing a lower quality product in order to sell more of it. There are times where you can get lucky and a company like Dewalt will just eliminate a few of their features on a professional grade product and sell it to the consumer audience. If you are ok with the limitations, go for it.

If you are looking for resources for used tiny house tools, check out pawn shops, eBay and Craig’s List. There are plenty of good deals to be had the local garage sales, too. When it comes time to unload your tools at the end of the project, consider donating them to a charity and take the write off on your taxes. You may be able to get more money back than what you spent for them. What tools do you plan on buying new or used? Let me know in the comments below.

2 thoughts on “Tiny House Tools: New vs. Used

  1. Adrian at ninjaDIY said:

    Hey Tom,
    Great article and very good advice.
    I for one I don”t like to buy second-hand power tools, specially if they are cordless tools. As you mention … you could be lied by the seller and you don’t really know the condition of that tool untill you realle need it and start using it.

    And if you do want something cheaper for your small projects like a DIY project or bits and bobs around your tiny house I realy recommend Ryobi. I am having couple of cordless tools from this guys and are working just fine. The corded versions are even cheaper.

    Again Tom, nice article !

  2. JanS said:

    I live in Klamath Falls, OR & they’re started a non-profit called the Tool Library – where you can “borrow” (low cost membership fee for the year) all sorts of tools for your home projects .. or building your Tiny House

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